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The judges of the BOAT Artistry & Craft Awards 2025

10 April 2024 • Written by Lucy Dunn

The BOAT Artistry & Craft Awards celebrate the artisans behind the incredible interiors and standout pieces on superyachts. Every designer’s secret weapon, these craftspeople can make ideas come alive with techniques that elevate the ordinary into the extraordinary - a humble wall panel or treatment becomes a work-of-art, for example, a light fitting transforms into a statement piece, a chair into a future heirloom, and so much more.  

This year’s esteemed panel of judges comprises acclaimed designers and experts from both in and outside the marine industry, all with expert knowledge in their specific fields and passionate custodians of craft and artistry in their own right.

The awards are chaired by BOAT International’s creative director Christopher Whale and the winners will be announced at the Superyacht Design Festival on 2-4 February 2025.

Deborah Pocock LVO

Deborah has been the CEO of QEST (Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust) since 2018, and immediately prior to that the Development Director of the Royal Warrant Holders Association for five years. Deborah is passionate about ensuring that regardless of background or circumstance everyone should have the opportunity and access to craft skills training in order to be able to pursue a career as a professional maker, whether as a sole trader or within the industry.

QEST supports and champions excellence in British craftsmanship by funding the training and education of talented and aspiring makers. Since 1990, the charity has awarded almost £5.5 million to some 700 makers working in a broad range of traditional and contemporary craft skills. In addition to financial support, QEST provides its alumni with business skills development, as well as opportunities for exhibitions, collaborations and commissions through its networks and other partnerships.

Lay Koon Tan

In 2000, Lay Koon Tan co-founded Nature Squared, a self-sufficient business focusing on bespoke luxury and sustainable surface design applications, which concentrates on preserving and promoting artisanal skills, creating jobs, and implementing a sustainable approach to reducing waste in emerging markets.

Building a business based on trade, not aid, Lay Koon reaffirms the true value of and respect for artisanal skills as well as encouraging a broader holistic attitude towards the financial system, society and the environment.

Replicable processes and methodologies illustrate how luxury and rarity can result from humble, commonplace materials such as fruit skins and feathers.

Already established as a leading luxury natural materials supplier for superyachts, Nature Squared has collaborated on groundbreaking projects with Rolls Royce, Montblanc, BMW and Victorinox, British designer Bethan Gray. Its latest breakthrough is the creation of a revolutionary new composite formula base design extracted from crushed eggshells using an ‘egg-loop’ ecosystem, shown to acclaim at the Rossana Orlandi gallery during Milan Design Week (2021/2022), Material Matters 2022, and LES RENDEZ-VOUS DE LA MATIÈRE + FAIR(E) 2022.

Lay Koon is a trustee and fundraiser for the Eve Appeal, and a fundraiser for Tall Ships, as well as a founding member of the Women in Luxury Interiors network.

Adrian Sassoon

Adrian Sassoon has been studying, collecting, curating and selling works of art for more than 40 years. In the last 25 years, he has become the leading UK dealer in contemporary works of art – ceramics, glass, silver, gold, lacquer and hardstone objects. His other professional field is French 18th-century works of art: primarily in the French royal porcelain factory of Vincennes and Sèvres.

Adrian started his career as a junior curator in European decorative arts of the 17th and 18th centuries at the J. Paul Getty Museum and has a deep interest in other fields, including old master and later paintings, Asian works of art and 20th-century photography. He has worked as the art advisor to various collectors, museums and for superyacht designers and owners.

Andrew Winch

Andrew Winch’s love of yachts was ignited in childhood, during long summers spent sailing the Solent in his father’s 42ft (12m) Beneteau. He completed a degree in 3D Design at Kingston College of Art, and then went on to gain experience as a skipper in the Caribbean, followed by an apprenticeship for acclaimed yacht designer, Jon Bannenberg. His love of yachts would persist through adulthood and inform his entire life’s work, leading him and his wife Jane, as designer and company manager, to establish Winch Design in 1986.

Winch Design's first project was to design the interior and exterior of a Swan 36ft sailboat, which soon led to the creation of other, bigger projects. Among many significant projects delivered by the team are 133 metre Al Mirqab, the Lurssen yachts Tis, Phoenix 2 and Ace, the Feadships Madame Gu and Sea Owl, CMN-built Slipstream and Cloud 9, Abeking & Rasmussen built Excellence and the sailing superyachts Cyclos III, Prevail, Alitha and several Jeanneau series. The architecture portfolio spans interiors, exteriors, chateaux, beach villas and mountain retreats and the aviation department has produced aircraft ranging from helicopters to the first-ever private Boeing 787/9 Dreamliner.

Winch Design has won over 30 prestigious design awards and come to be recognised as one of the leading international design studios in the world. The studio now comprises over 150 talented individuals who have designed and delivered some of the most iconic designs of the 21st century.

Christopher Whale (chair)

Christopher Whale has worked in editorial design on a range of high-end luxury titles for more than two decades. Having launched his career at Harpers & Queen, he went on to art direct for some of the UK’s most prestigious luxury magazines, including the London Evening Standard Magazine, Tatler and Harper’s Bazaar. He has also worked with commercial clients such as Graff and Mercedes-Benz. As creative director at BOAT International Media, Whale has overseen the rebrand and redesign of the company’s print and digital portfolio.

Nominations for the 2025 awards are now open and will close on 11 October 2024. If you have any questions, please contact the events team.

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